Alex Hendley is pleased Ross Wallace is on the way back.
It was announced on Monday that Clarets winger Ross Wallace was making a steady return to fitness and played 45 minutes in the Development Squad’s 1-0 win against Wolves. While Sean Dyche and the club refused to put a timescale on Wallace’s return to the first team, it’s still worthwhile taking time to consider what part the Scot has to play in the high-flying Clarets team.
Since Wallace’s last appearance of the season in a 2-0 victory over Yeovil Town, the Clarets have racked up 11 wins out of their 21 league games and lost only three of those – posing the question whether the previously ever-present winger has a place in Dyche’s starting XI.
Since Wallace arrived from Preston North End in 2010, the 28 year-old has scored just 11 goals in 123 appearances for the Clarets. While he may be only be a midfielder, for someone described by Brian Laws as “one of the best left-sided players in the Championship” that isn’t the best record in the world, but then, that WAS Brian Laws…
Anyway, for someone clearly not known for their goals (though I vividly remember a screaming free-kick against Blackpool), the one thing Wallace does provide is a decent ball into the box, and a handful of assists. Claiming two in the famous 4-3 derby victory over Preston and five in his first season (remember this was hardly the great season we’re having at the moment) it’s clear to see what Wallace brings to the team.
However, it is a well known fact among Burnley fans that Ross Wallace’s right foot seems to have gone walkabout. This could be a potential banana skin in the way of Wallace’s return, as Dyche cannot afford to allow a semi-fit player hold up his now famous “balance” of the team, especially if the attacking flow will be constantly halted by Wallace cutting back on to his left peg.
What Wallace will bring to the squad is clear – decent crosses, a few assists (if he gets into form, him and Sam Vokes could make something great) and most importantly – ANOTHER FIT PLAYER. While the flanks aren’t exactly our weakest points – Michael Kightly, Keith Treacy, Scott Arfield, Kieran Trippier (well come on, he basically is) and Junior Stanislas are all options, Wallace’s return could be key to our team’s formation.
It’s clear we need another striker, but Ross’ return could allow players like Stanislas and Treacy to play a more central role, in “the hole” I believe they call it, and while our beloved Keef is hardly Mesut Ozil, it could be a new lease of life for a player who doesn’t seem to enjoy running. It could also allow Arfield to move into central midfield, allowing Jones and Marney to have an extra playmate when we need to pack the midfield against stronger teams.
It would be stupid to say Wallace’s return is anything but a plus for Sean Dyche, given the size of the squad, however it remains to be seen whether Wallace is still good enough to get into the gaffer’s promotion pushing side.
Will Wallace get back in the side? Comment below.